Even before War had broken out in Europe, The U.S. had begun to rearm herself. The building of a two-ocean navy which caused minor materiel shortages snowballed into rearmament and then a full-scale War economy. It was rare industry left untouched by shortages or the War Production Board which dictated whether certain products could be made at all.
Telechron felt the pinch.
The exotic hardwoods (Prima Vera wood, zebrawood, harewood, ebony, Burma
Padouk, lacewood, satinwood--they spared no expense) imported in the 30's
were replaced by domestic woods, facsimile leather and plastic.
Nickeled brass rotor cases were now copper. Brass hardware was replaced with steel. Steel was replaced with nothing at all. To save steel, bells were left off alarm clocks since the buzzer arm alone made for a powerful, if not melic, wakeup call. Clock cases made of steel were largely replaced by bakelite. Even bakelite got replaced when Telechron began using wood fiber in their commercial clock cases.
In 1942, the last boxcars of clocks rolled out of Ashland. All consumer clock production was halted and the shop was put to work making defense-related goods. (And a heartbreaking number of great models had productions runs cut short.) Far from being a financial disaster, both G.E. and Telechron had all the work they could handle and there was a job for anyone who could work.
For me, the most notable thing about the clocks of this era was how much their quality didn't suffer because of shortages. Any one of these clocks is better than what the company was turning out 15 years later and I don't just mean their style (of which they had plenty). They used unmeltable bakelite instead of plaskon. Behind glass--not plastic--crystals, were steel dials instead of foil or paper. They had brass or steelworks instead of plastic, aluminum or worse. It was a time when quality, even at a time of national emergency, still mattered and Telechron delivered.
Here's something appropriate to listen to while you're browsing in the War Years.
|7 Series||7H136||7H138||7H140||7H142||7H144||#1 War Alarm||#2 War Alarm|
Have a look at the neat stuff Telechron was making when it wasn't making clocks.